Non-Communicable Disease Prevention Report 2021-2022

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, liver disease and lung disease. In 2020, these diseases were responsible for more than 40,000 deaths in Scotland – that's 62% of all deaths.

Analysis suggests that one in five of these deaths are preventable through public health action. Reducing the consumption of health harming products, like alcohol, tobacco and unhealthy food and drink, is one of the key ways to reduce the number of lives lost to, and affected by, NCDs. 

What’s more, the consumption and availability of health harming products are often highest in our most deprived areas. We must ensure that the healthy choice is the easy choice for people in Scotland, regardless of their community.

The Scottish Government tobacco-free generation target of reducing smoking prevalence to 5% by 2034, is already estimated to be 16 years behind target. 

Urgent action is needed on tobacco, alcohol, and unhealthy food and drink.

With the commencement of the 2021/22 Parliament, ASH Scotland has come together again with nine other charities to call for urgent action. 

They are calling on the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government to take meaningful action to reduce the impact of health harming products and to build a healthier Scotland for future generations. This report sets ASH Scotland’s priority areas for action in the first year of this Parliament.

Read ASH Scotland NCD Prevention Report

Read ASH Scotland NCD Prevention Summary Poster


COVID Recovery consultation

The Scottish Government have launched a consultation seeking the public’s views on legislative reform to support Scotland’s recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Covid recovery: justice system, health and public services reform consultation sets out a range of proposals, including whether some beneficial temporary provisions made under Scottish and UK coronavirus legislation and due to expire in March 2022 should be maintained.

The public will have 12 weeks until the consultation period ends on 9 November to share their views on the proposals.

These include:

  • maintaining provisions in the UK Coronavirus Act that enable Scottish Ministers to enact measures via public health regulations for any future public health threats, in line with powers that are already in statute in England and Wales
  • a change in the law that will allow a wider range of health professionals such as nurses, midwives and paramedics to give vaccinations and immunisations
  • maintaining pre-eviction protocols relating to rent arrears in the private rented sector, ensuring that tenants have all the information they need about their rights, and placing more responsibility on landlords to ensure correct procedures are followed
  • whether the extended statutory time-limits for criminal proceedings should temporarily remain in place to help the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service manage the backlog of cases arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure cases can continue to be heard, through greater flexibility in the programming of court business
  • maintaining remote registration of deaths and still-births by phone or other methods, without the need to go to a registration office in person, in addition to a new proposal to extend this flexibility to live births

The consultation also asks people to suggest any additional measures or legislation not covered in the consultation that could support Scotland’s recovery.


Are you ready to make the most of COP26?

It is the biggest event of its kind ever to be held in Scotland, but what does COP26 mean for you and your business? And are you in a position to make the most of it?

Zero Waste Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Business Support Service has put together informative articles and an interesting series of FREE lunchtime training webinars over the next three months to help your business take something positive from the event.

From learning how to calculate your carbon footprint so you can become more climate savvy and save money, to running staff engagement campaigns and learning from green businesses, there's something for everyone.

For full details, click here.

‘Food allergies can be life threatening. Food Standards Scotland are here to support you prepare for the new food labelling laws

New legislation, which will require food businesses in Scotland to include the product name and full ingredients list, on food sold prepacked for direct sale (PPDS), comes into force on October 1st 2021, in Scotland and the rest of the UK. 

Businesses must include the name of the food and the ingredients list with any of the 14 allergens required to be declared by law emphasised within it, if they are ingredients of the food. 

Examples of PPDS foods include sandwiches placed into packaging by the food business and sold from the same premises, wrapped deli counter goods such as cheese and meats, and boxed salads placed on a refrigerated shelf prior to sale. 

What information is required? 

You must include the name of the food and the ingredients list with any of the 14 allergens required to be declared by law emphasised within it, if they are ingredients of the food. Allergens could be emphasised by:

●  Using a different text colour

 ●  Writing the allergens in bold or underlining 

How is my business affected? 

To find out how your business is affected visit the Food Standards Scotland website and answer a few questions to find out how you are affected by these changes. 

Support and guidance 

You can also find all the support and guidance you will need on the Food Standards Scotland website, along with a short video to help explain the legislation change.
To make sure you are ready for this change visit 


Prepacked for direct sale (PPDS) labelling guidance produced

From 1 October 2021 the legal requirements for labelling food sold prepacked for direct sale (PPDS) will change in Scotland. The new labelling will help inform and protect consumers by providing ingredient and allergen information on the packaging. 

Food Standards Scotland have produced guidance intended to help food business operators check whether business are affected by the changes to the labelling rules for food including drink, sold PPDS and if businesses are affected what they need to do to meet new requirements. 

The new legislation will require PPDS food, to be labelled with: 

·       the name of the food 

·       a full ingredients list 

·       allergen information (emphasised within the list) 

Examples of PPDS foods include sandwiches placed into packaging by the food business and sold from the same premises, wrapped deli counter goods such as cheese and meats, and boxed salads placed on a refrigerated shelf prior to sale.


This new requirement follows wide consultation, including engaging with business and enforcement stakeholders, and consumers on improving allergen information, to help prevent further food allergy deaths in the out of home environment.


£19.2 million for cross-government surveillance project to protect public health

The UK Treasury has announced £19.2 million funding for a UK-wide pilot scheme to adopt a ‘One Health’ approach to the surveillance of foodborne pathogens and antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The project brings together the Food Standards Agency (FSA), Food Standards Scotland (FSS), the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Public Health England (PHE) and the Environment Agency to test the application of genomic technologies in the surveillance of foodborne pathogens and antimicrobial resistant (AMR) microbes in all four nations of the UK.

The three-year programme, ‘Pathogen Surveillance in Agriculture, Food and the Environment (PATH-SAFE)’ aims to establish the infrastructure and sampling frameworks which are needed to monitor the source and spread of foodborne pathogens and AMR genes between the environment, animals, food and human populations.

The funding is part of the UK Government’s Shared Outcomes Fund (SOF) which tests innovative ways of bringing together the public sector. It aims to address cross-cutting issues in a way that improves outcomes and ensures value for money.

Food Standards Scotland’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor David Gally, said: “The funding will allow the UK to build on its expertise in whole genome sequencing of infectious diseases to improve our knowledge of the origins and threats posed by pathogens and AMR in our environments and the food chain, and help us to target control strategies for protecting public health.”

The investment will support the project to develop a pilot national surveillance network, using the latest DNA-sequencing technology and environmental sampling to improve the detection and tracking of foodborne and antimicrobial resistant pathogens through the whole agri-food system from ‘farm to fork’.

At the heart of this ‘virtual’ network will be a new database that will permit the analysis, storage and sharing of pathogen sequence and source data, collected from multiple locations across the UK by both government and public organisations.

Professor Robin May, Chief Scientific Adviser for the FSA said: 

“Foodborne disease in the UK is estimated to cause around 2.4 million cases of illness a year.  The cost of this burden on society is estimated at over £9bn per year. This project is designed to help safeguard UK food, agriculture and consumers by using cutting edge technology to understand how pathogens and AMR spread. Tracking the source of these issues will ultimately help us to develop better control strategies to reduce illness and deaths.”

Professor Gideon Henderson, Chief Scientific Adviser for Defra said:

“Antimicrobial resistance poses a major risk to public health and the loss of functional antibiotics has the potential to cause 10 million additional global deaths every year by 2050. To put this in context the current pandemic has so far caused around three million deaths globally.

“UK sales of antibiotics for food-producing animals have halved in the last six years.  This vital new project will build on that progress, and ensure antibiotics continue to remain effective for both people and animals.”

Dame Sally Davies, UK Special Envoy on AMR, said: 

“AMR is a silent pandemic that already poses a serious threat to modern medicine and our planet, by making common infections even more difficult to treat in both humans and animals.   To tackle this global threat, we need to make better use of our technological advances, and strengthen our ability to collect, analyse, and share health data from all aspects of life.

“Building on the progress made at the G7 meetings this year, this new project will help us identify how pathogens and AMR spread, through analysing food, environment and health factors.  Through this joined-up approach we will be able to take decisive action to save thousands of lives every year.”

Professor Doug Wilson, Chief Scientist for the Environment Agency, said:

“This project will help us to understand the complex role that the environment plays in the development, maintenance and transport of resistance leading to the exposure of people, animals and crops. We can finally begin to add environmental knowledge to build a true “One Health” approach to AMR.”

Dr Neil Woodford, Deputy Director, National Infection Service for PHE said:

“Working across industries and taking a “One Health” approach is a critical part of our approach to better understand and track antibiotic resistance and ensure that we can keep antibiotics working. Our ongoing and established surveillance work of antibiotic resistance in samples from patients with gastrointestinal infections will form an important part of this joint initiative and help ensure that information is shared across the system.” 

Gas Safety Week is coming in September

Gas Safety Week (GSW) 2021 is to take place 13-19 September. Coordinated by Gas Safe Register, is the gas industry’s eleventh annual awareness event.

Businesses are encouraged to show their support, by completing the pledge form on the GSW website. In return they will receive a free toolkit which contains digital materials designed to help them support the week, including:

  • pre-planned social media updates and images
  • articles for websites
  • web banners
  • logos and images of the Gas Safety Week Safety Squad

For further information on the week, you can follow @GasSafetyWeek on Twitter, and if you’d like to share your supportive activities after the week, you can email the details.

HSE also has plenty of guidance for employers and workers on their gas safety website.


Workplace testing rolled out to boost recovery

Organisations with ten or more employees can now sign up for asymptomatic workplace testing as part of an enhanced drive to identify emerging coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and break chains of transmission. 

Free lateral flow device (LFD) tests have been made more widely available as the country emerges from lockdown restrictions and moves beyond level 0.

The testing regime is voluntary and organisations can adopt an LFD Collect model to distribute among workers or implement their own asymptomatic test site (ATS) model in workplaces.

Workplace testing in Scotland had previously been targeted at prioritised areas of the public sector, critical national infrastructure and private businesses with higher transmission rates.

The workplace testing offer will initially be until the end of September 2021, in line with the universal testing offer. It will include formal volunteers from third sector organisations.

Eligible Scottish organisations can find information on how to apply by visiting here

Organisations with less than 10 employees can direct their workforce to collect LFD test kits from a local pharmacy or COVID-19 test site, or order online for home delivery.


Official Controls Verification Guidance published

Food Standard’s Scotland have published Official Controls Verification (OCV) Guidance which has been developed in partnership with Environmental Health Officers. The guidance provides a methodology to be applied when undertaking official control activities within establishments subject to approval under Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 in Scotland. 

Its objective is to provide a framework which, when uniformly applied across all Competent Authorities in Scotland, will ensure a methodical and consistent approach that meets the requirements of the legislation, secures a high level of public health protection and protects the reputation of Scottish food businesses.

The guidance was been developed by Scottish Food Enforcement Liaison Committee (SFELC) Approved Establishment Working Group which was made up of representatives from FSS and Environmental Health Officers from Local Authorities.

SFELC, the FSS and the SOCOEHS extend their gratitude to the Working Group for the commitment, time, expertise and support its members have demonstrated in the development of this document. The three organised also recognise the specialist expertise provided by Andy MacLeod of Argyll and Bute Council, who provided the genesis of the principles and approach enshrined in the guidance and Lorna McCoull of Glasgow City Council, who was instrumental in the documents progress. 

Under One Roof launches webinar programme for private landlords

Under One Roof, with generous support from the SafeDeposits Scotland Charitable Trust, is again hosting a series of webinars in 2021-22 to give landlords and letting agents in Scotland interactive, free, and independent information they can use to address the issues faced in managing tenement flats.

The twice-monthly, one-hour sessions will feature specific topics and general sessions related to tenement flat management, such as organising common repairs in a tenement block, and making repairs or improvements to a specific flat.

The webinar sessions will again feature Under One Roof Scotland’s tenement experts Annie Flint and John Gilbert, co-authors of The Tenement Handbook and primary contributors of the webpage, as well as a number of professionals from across the sector.

There are 20 sessions planned between August 2021 and May 2022 with the first taking place on Tuesday, August 24th (6-7pm) and will focus on the subject of noise reduction. Landlords and letting agents will learn about the common sources of noise problems found in tenement blocks and which standards to follow when attempting to reduce noise. They will also have the opportunity to ask questions to expert guests about issues they are facing involving noise reduction.

David Duffy, a manager with South Lanarkshire Council Environmental Health who has over 30 years of experience dealing with noise issues, will also be joining the presenter line-up and will provide a valuable problem-solving and enforcement perspective. Registration details can be found here.

The Private Landlord webinar series is part of Under One Roof’s continuing work to provide all owners of tenement flats in Scotland information on common repairs and maintenance – this includes a series of webinars next month on low-carbon tenements and energy efficiency, aimed at landlords and owner-occupiers in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen as part of Doors Open Days.

Mike Heffron, chief executive of Under One Roof, said: “Under One Roof, with the generous support of the Safe Deposits Scotland Charitable Trust, is again pleased to be able to host a series of free, independent webinars aimed at supporting landlords and letting agents in Scotland with issues related to tenements flats. Landlords who know their responsibilities and rights regarding repair and maintenance in the stair will be able to work better with other owners in the tenement block to ensure a better standard of housing for their tenants.”

John Duff, chairman of the SafeDeposits Scotland Charitable Trust, added: “Under One Roof has a strong track record of delivering informative and important guidance on handling issues relating to tenement flats, and the SafeDeposits Scotland Charitable Trust is delighted to have funded this new series of webinars. These sessions fit perfectly with one of our key aims, which is to advance education on best practice in private rented housing management.”


Alcohol-specific deaths in Scotland increase

The number of alcohol-specific deaths has increased by 17% to 1,190 in 2020, up from 1,020 in 2019, according to statistics on deaths by various causes published today by National Records of Scotland.  

These figures show a return to the recent upward trend in the number of alcohol-specific deaths in Scotland following a decline in the previous year. This is the largest number of deaths due to alcohol recorded since 2008.

This NRS report presents mortality rates for deaths from causes known to be exclusively caused by alcohol consumption. Alcoholic liver disease and mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol have been the leading causes of alcohol death since 2000.

Most alcohol-specific deaths were of people in their 50s and 60s, with the average age being 59.9 for men and 57.4 for women. Men are more than twice as likely as women to die from alcohol

Deaths in the most deprived areas were four times more than those in the least deprived areas.

The latest statistics for Scotland show:

·       The five-year average alcohol-specific death rate for Scotland was 20.5 deaths per 100,000 population.

·       Four health boards had death rates higher than the average: Greater Glasgow and Clyde; Lanarkshire; Western Isles and Highland.

·       The council areas with the worst rates were Inverclyde (31.6), Glasgow City (31.3) and North Lanarkshire (29.8).

·       The local authorities with the lowest death rates were Shetland (10.0), Aberdeenshire (10.3) and Scottish Borders (11.1).

·       The death rate in the most deprived areas of Scotland was 41 per 100,000 compared 10 in the least deprived 20%.

·       The increase has been driven by male deaths as there was very little change in the number for females.

Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland said, “Last year we saw a positive reduction in the number of deaths caused by alcohol. This sudden increase of 17% is devastating to see and a tragedy for everyone affected. It is a stark reminder that we cannot afford to take our eye off the ball where alcohol harm is concerned."

“Scotland has made good progress in addressing the problems we have with alcohol by introducing policies like minimum unit pricing which is showing promising results. Yet the impact of the pandemic threatens to undermine this progress. Many people, particularly heavier drinkers, have reported that they have increased their drinking during the last 18 months. The effects are felt most by those living in our poorest communities, who are eight times more likely to die due to alcohol. "

“If we are to prevent more people losing their lives to alcohol and to reduce health inequalities we need to redouble our efforts by reducing the availability of alcohol, restricting its marketing and by uprating minimum unit price. Importantly, we also need to make sure that support is available to those who need it now. We have recently seen a significant investment in drug treatment in response to the increasing numbers of people who are tragically losing their lives to drugs. To reduce the long-term impact of the pandemic this needs to be matched with investment in recovery-oriented alcohol services."

Resources for COVID-19

Please see below resources for the COVID-19 pandemic:


The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 – identify categories of business which still require to remain closed and outline physical distancing requirements for those permitted to trade. Officers of Environmental Health are authorised officers under the regulation.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 – Legislation that implements a new levels-based approach to tackling coronavirus. The Regulations come into force on Monday, 2 November.

Scottish Government approach and strategy

Coronavirus in Scotland- what you need to know – Scottish Government's Coronavirus dedicated webpage

Coronavirus (COVID-19): staying safe and protecting others – How to stay safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Getting tested for COVID-19 and self-isolating

You should self-isolate and book a COVID-19 test if you have symptoms (new continuous cough, fever or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste).

NHS Inform Website – health advice, including a symptom checker, information on COVID-19 vaccine and guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection

Travel and Quarantine

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on travel and transport

Coronavirus (COVID-19): international travel and quarantine

Businesses and employers guidance

Scottish Government Guidance– guidance about coronavirus (COVID-19), including business, health, education and housing.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer businesses and workplaces – guidance for businesses and workplaces on reducing the risk of COVID-19 and supporting staff and customers.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): returning to offices – To help employers plan for a gradual return to offices when the country moves beyond Level 0 of the coronavirus pandemic.

Retail sector guidance– guidance for the retail sector, including procedures for staff and customer safety

Close contact services guidance – information for people who provide close contact services such as hairdressers, barbers and beauticians on working safely during coronavirus.

Tourism and hospitality sector guidance – guidance for the tourism and hospitality sector, including procedures for staff and customer safety

Hospitality Frequently Asked Questions – these questions and answers are aimed at providing further clarity to hospitality businesses following publication of Scottish Government sectoral guidance

Guidance on sport and leisure facilities – Guidance for the opening of indoor and outdoor sport and leisure facilities with physical distancing and hygiene measures.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) stadia and live events guidance – guidance for local authorities and event planners.

Opening public and customer toilets – on opening of public and customer toilets during the coronavirus pandemic.

Other Relevant Guidance

Health Protection Scotland- COVID-19 – guidance for non-healthcare settings is to support those working in non-healthcare settings give advice to their staff and users of their services about COVID-19. This guidance covers:

  •  what COVID-19 is and how it is spread
  • advice on how to prevent spread of all respiratory infections including COVID-19
  • advice on what to do if someone is ill in a work​​place or other non-healthcare setting
  • advice on what will happen if an individual is being investigated as a possible case or is confirmed as a case of COVID-19

Food Standards Scotland- COVID-19 Guidance for Food Business Operators and Their Employees to assist food businesses in translating the measures in the Scottish Government safer workplaces guidance, FSS has updated its risk assessment tool which will support FBOs in identifying and documenting the actions they need to take to prevent the spread of COVID-19, whilst maintaining an effective Food Safety Management System (FSMS). FSS has also updated its guidance for FBOs on the investigation of COVID-19 outbreaks. This has been developed in collaboration with Public Health Scotland (PHS) which aims to help food businesses understand how decisions will be taken when an outbreak of COVID-19 is identified in their workforce.

Health and Safety Executive – Coronavirus (COVID-19): latest information and advice

·       Working safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak– follow this guide for an overview of practical measures you can take. It includes help with how to maintain social distancing in your workplace, staggering shifts, cleaning and how to talk with workers.

·       Air conditioning and ventilation during the coronavirus outbreak